So, you want to do genealogy
People have always had a fascination with their family history. Who were your great grandparents? Where were they born and did they grow up near their birthplace or thousands of miles from their native home. Some people are lucky enough to have well recorded family histories handed to them. Then, there are the rest of us.
However, today let’s just talk about the hard part. You know. That blank sheet of paper in front of you and your keen interest in filling it in with your family history.
With the advent of the personal computer and the web, many use the excuse, “Well, as soon as I get the ‘X’ brand software and my new laptop I am going to get started!” Those very tools can be the biggest crutches a person ever encounters with genealogy, for NOT starting.
You do not need a computer. You do not need ‘do all’ software in order to work on your family history, and one of the most interesting hobbies you can engage in for personal enjoyment and family curiosity.
In fact, I would recommend for any beginning novice that you do quite the opposite to start. Get a $2.00 3-ring binder, some family history forms from your local library or bookstore. Sit down with family members and start recording an outline of what you know to be factual. Nothing you do at this point is for not. You are learning the first steps of organization and structure necessary for creating a good and accurate family history. I cannot tell you how many people are out there, notebook computer under arm, software loaded and a totally worthless conglomeration of fiction loaded as ‘their’ family history.
Worst yet, they are more than willing to share it with you. “My family history!” “Your family history!” “Several unrelated people’s family histories!” But they have achieved a goal of ‘X’ number of names logged in the wonderful new genealogy software file. Wow, I’m impressed, not! How about you?
Genealogy is a slow game of substantiated facts. Your facts. Your family history. Learn to do it correctly. A curious mind, a desire to know and learn, a #2 pencil, a few forms and a ring binder are all the tools you need to start this rewarding hobby. You become the family historian.
What are your questions on genealogy? You might be surprised at the number of people with the same question. Send it along to our attention at the Wing House Museum at the address above, and we will look at your question as a possible article.